Fashion Designer Silvia Suarez Takes Oaxaca Craft to the Catwalk

John Dickie/Fusion

Hand-made products finally seem to be getting their dues these days, helping create a quiet boom in Oaxacan cottage industries. Alebrije wood carvings are showing in fine art galleries. Single village mezcals are being sipped in exclusive restaurants. And now, traditional textiles are showing up in fashion magazines.

"People are starting to value the work of artisans," says young Mexican fashion designer Silvia Suárez, "the fact that some textiles take weeks to make, that it's a unique piece made by a single person, and that each piece has a story." Suárez, who was born in Argentina and has been in Oaxaca since she was six years old, works with over 120 families of artisans from all over the state of Oaxaca, which is home to over 30 ethnic groups, each with a rich handcraft tradition.

Her collections of huipiles (traditional blouses) and ponchos are based on local hand-woven and embroidered designs, adapting them with a personal, modern touch and putting them in a cosmopolitan light.

In this video, Fusion went to visit Silvia in Oaxaca, in the South of Mexico, to see how she goes about her work, and to meet some of the women she collaborates with.

Silvia Suárez presented her first show in New York, with her 2013 Fall/Winter collection titled Shi Mu at Casa Mezcal in the Lower East Side on November 26th and 27th.

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